For his pressure and unyielding character, Abdulrashid Sadulaev received the nickname “Tank”. He is the captain of the Russian national freestyle wrestling team.
A native of the highland village Tsurib, Dagestan, the Russian grappler is a phenomenon of modern struggle. He is regarded as the best freestyle wrestler on the planet. His dominance on the mat bears the testaments of it.
He took up wrestling in his village, and later moved to Makhachkala with his family, where he got engaged in the sport professionally.
While still 20, Sadulaev won Olympic gold in the 2016 Rio Games and became the youngest wrestler to do so.In the final, he defeated former compatriot Zelimkhan Kartoev, who plays for Turkey under the name Selim Yasar, with a score of 5-0.
Sadulaev and Kyle Snyder: The rivalry of Decade
If you look at the statistics of the titles won by the Russian Tank, it is very impressive. He has won an Olympic medal, four World Championship medals, five European Championships and two European Games medals. Among them, only the silver of the World Championship in Budapest in 2017 stands out.
After his Olympic Games, Sadulaev moved up in weight class and started competing in the 97kg where he met the USA’s Kyle Snyder. The duo first time met at the 2017 Worlds where the American won 6-5.
The next year, both wrestlers met again at Budapest Worlds finals. This time the fight did not last long, just a minute after the start, Sadulaev arranged for a “carcass”.
“After I lost, the children came up to me every time, the adults asked, ‘When is the rematch? ‘ Each time the same question. Our compatriot Omar Murtazaliev has already told me that he wants to organize a tournament in America so that we will have a rematch. But I showed patience,” he told Obzor press.
“He even came to the Yaryginsky tournament, but I was a weight lower. A year lasted my expectation of this battle. And so when I won, as if a stone had fallen from my soul,” he added.
Sadulaev and Snyder could have met for the third time at the World Championships in Nur Sultan in 2019. But Snyer lost to Sharif Sharifov, the Dagestan who plays for Azerbaijan, for reaching the final. Sadulaev eventually became the champion, while and Snyder won the bronze.
“Crawling gathered for the sake of this fight, but as you saw, our fellow countryman Sharif Sharifov stopped him in the semifinals.
“Well, I think we will meet again, there is a very interesting year ahead, the Olympic Games. I don’t know how fate will bring us together, what kind of grid we will fall into, I may meet in the first fight, but morally, physically and spiritually I am ready, ” he said.
In December 2019, Snyder arrived as a participant in the Alana tournament, which takes place in Ossetia. Sadulaev also attended the tournament, but as a guest.
Two athletes talked. The Russian invited his American counter-part to visit Dagestan and try the local cuisine and look at the wrestling school.
Snyder agreed and promised to find time in the calendar plan for the arrival. He had long wanted to see the Mecca of freestyle wrestling, as Dagestan is called all over the world.
“When he reached the final, Khadzhimurat Gatsalov and I approached his team. They wanted to invite to dinner, but they have a final in a couple of hours, and after that they immediately fly away. He told me that he has long wanted to visit our republic. And after the Olympics will come with his wife. We are waiting anytime.”